Greek minority school in Gökçeada opens after 40-year closure

Vural Bozok / Çanakkale, Sep 28 () - The Greek high school on Turkey’s northwestern island of Gökçeada, which could not open in 2014 as its building was deemed physically unprepared by the Education Ministry, is set to open this year after a 40-year closure.

The Greek community on Gökçeada, off Çanakkale province, established the İmroz Education and Culture Association on April 2014, referring to Gökçeada with its pre-1970 Greek name of “Imbros.”

The association aimed to re-open the high school, which along with the secondary school was expected to open in the last school year, but the Education Ministry did not grant permission on the grounds that the school building was not physically prepared.

As the association has managed to restore the school building before the upcoming academic year begins on Sept. 28, the school is set to start with 10 students after a 40-year break.

İokim Makis Kamburopulos, the vice chairman of the association’s management board, said seven of the school’s students were from Gökçeada’s Greek community while three were due to come from Greece.

Kamburopulos added that he had returned to Gökçeada after 46 years to re-open the school that he attended in his youth.

He also thanked Turkish officials for “showing sensitivity” over the issue, while inviting the residents of Gökçeada to attend the school’s opening on Sept. 28.

Ömer Faruk Yelkenci, the deputy head of Turkey’s General Directorate of Private Education Institutions, is expected to attend the ceremony.

The Gökçeada Private High School and Secondary School was built in 1953 and started its first academic year with 180 students. The number of students enrolled at the school diminished drastically as education in Greek was prohibited 11 years later, and the school was completely shut down in 1975.

Another Greek minority school on Gökçeada, the Hagia Todori Elementary School, which was opened in 1951 and closed in 1964, was reopened for the 2014 academic year.

(Photo)

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